Back-to-School Car Safety: Essential Maintenance Tips for Parents

As the school year approaches, parents are focused on ensuring their children are ready for the academic challenges ahead. However, it’s equally important to prioritize their safety during their daily commute. To keep your child safe on the road, proper car maintenance is essential. In this article, we will provide you with essential back-to-school car maintenance tips for parents. By following these guidelines, you can ensure your vehicle is in top condition, providing a safe and reliable mode of transportation for your child.

Check the Basics: Fluids and Filters

Start with the following maintenance tasks to ensure your car’s vital systems are functioning properly:

  • Engine oil and filter: Check the oil level and condition, and schedule an oil change if needed. Replace the oil filter to maintain optimal engine performance.
  • Coolant: Inspect the coolant level and quality. Consider flushing and replacing the coolant if it’s been more than two years since the last change.
  • Brake fluid: Check the brake fluid level and ensure it is within the recommended range. If it appears dirty or contaminated, have it flushed and replaced.
  • Air filters: Inspect and replace the engine air filter and cabin air filter if they are dirty or clogged. Clean filters help maintain proper air circulation and improve the efficiency of your car’s systems.

Check the Tires: Pressure and Tread

Proper tire maintenance is crucial for safe driving. Follow these tire-related tips:

  • Tire pressure: Check the tire pressure regularly, including the spare tire. Underinflated or overinflated tires can impact fuel efficiency, handling, and tire wear.
  • Tread depth: Examine the tire tread depth using the “penny test.” If the tread depth reaches the top of Lincoln’s head on a penny when inserted into the tread grooves, it’s time to replace the tires.
  • Tire rotation: Consider rotating the tires to ensure even wear and extend their lifespan. Consult your vehicle’s manual for the recommended rotation intervals.

Ensure Visibility: Lights and Wipers

Good visibility is essential for safe driving, especially during school drop-offs and pickups. Take care of the following:

  • Exterior lights: Check that all exterior lights, including headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals, are working properly. Replace any burnt-out bulbs promptly.
  • Windshield wipers: Inspect the condition of the wiper blades and replace them if they leave streaks or are damaged. Ensure the windshield washer fluid reservoir is filled with a suitable cleaner.
  • Windshield condition: Check for any cracks or chips on the windshield. Repair or replace the windshield if necessary to maintain clear visibility.

Prepare for Emergencies: Safety Kit and Documentation

Being prepared for emergencies is crucial for peace of mind. Consider the following:

  • Emergency kit: Assemble a safety kit that includes essential items such as a first aid kit, roadside assistance supplies, a flashlight, emergency contact information, and a spare cell phone charger.
  • Vehicle documentation: Keep important documents like vehicle registration, insurance information, and emergency contact numbers easily accessible in the car.

As parents, ensuring your child’s safety extends beyond the school grounds. By following these essential back-to-school car maintenance tips, you can create a safer environment for your child during their daily commute. Remember to check the fluids and filters, inspect the tires, ensure visibility, and be prepared for emergencies with a safety kit and necessary documentation. By prioritizing car maintenance, you provide a reliable and safe transportation option for your child, ensuring a stress-free and secure start to the school year. Schedule a visit to one of the OHS Body Shop service centers in Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls and Polson for a comprehensive check-up of your car.